Sunday, March 20, 2016

Bromeliads Are Pretty Cool Too

Bromeliads are considered a "keystone species," meaning they're important to the survival of a variety of living organisms in their environment. The "tank" that the leaves form gets filled with water that not only does the plant use, it creates a habitat with food and shelter for animals, insects, microorganisms and even other plants. I won't get started on here into the estimates of how many gallons of water an acre of a forest containing bromeliads can hold, estimates on how many organisms they support. The point being is they help and in some cases exclusively support life around and in them through some complex co-evolution.

Now here in my tiny corner of the world, they aren't so important, but they appear to be of value anyway. Quesnelia marmorata 'Tim Plowman' has been home to this particular frog since I moved it outside for the summer.

This Anole lizard was hiding in and about them catching bugs the other day. He blends in pretty well with this green Hohenbergia too.

I've developed a bit of a collection, and recently moved them all outside for the summer again. I love that animals are enjoying having them here too.

The genus Hohenbergia might just be my favorite.

Left to Right: Hohenbergia leopoldo-horstii, Hoh. edmundoi Chapada Diamantina clone, unnamed Hoh. hybrid 

View from above, l love the long tubular shapes these make.
Hohenbergia species #357 (an unnamed Brazilian species,) with two Neoregelia in front
Hohenbergia 'Karla', a variegated sport that was produced by a Hoh. magnispina
One of my favorite features in any genus is spines. The more careful you have to be when repotting the bigger a fan I am of the plant.

Billbergia sanderiana
Androlepis skinneri
This one murdered my arms trying to get it from the store to my car and back out to the yard again. It was meant to be.
Aechmea orlandiana 'Ensign'
This Aechmea nudicaulis 'Parati' is a new one I recently potted up. Aside from features like spiked leaves, one of the best parts about growing bromeliads is how easily they can be shared and shipped. After the main plant flowers, it'll make offsets, or "pups" to propagate itself and the mother plant will eventually die. Some mother plants make pups before flowering, like this one, and should make a nice clump of plants over time.

By now you've probably noticed the chopsticks throughout these photos. The ones that had arrived without roots are staked in place with them. It works perfectly to keep them stable while they root, as you can't bury the base of the plant without risking rotting epiphytic bromeliads like this one.

There are some bromeliads that make pups often and form nice looking clumps more easily than others.

Neoregelia 'Zoe' & Neoregelia Fireball
If you have the patience, starting with one single pup can be a super cheap way to start what will be a nice clump of plants like the above eventually.

Neoregelia punctatissima 'Yellow Banded' and Neoregelia ampullacia red form (putting out it's 1st offset on a long stolon.)
With such easy maintenance and many being cold tolerant enough to stay outside all year here, (seriously, my Home Depot Vriesea hybrid tolerates the occasional frost,) it's hard not to wind up with a serious collection over time.

Side note: As an FYI, my Catopsis berternoniana from California Carnivores is actually (99% sure, sent in for ID) a Catopsis morreniana. So if you've purchased one from CC last summer as well, you've likely got a morreniana too. Why am I so sure? Mines making 3 pups, berteroniana only makes one. The flowers and overall size at maturity are different as well if that wasn't enough. Back on the hunt for a legit C. berternoniana :( 


  1. What a beautiful collection! Also, I really like that plant stand. I love stands for their ability to make use of vertical space!

    1. Thanks Rich. I'm a big fan of stands and racks for the same reason, more space = more plants!!!